Parole d'oltreoceano di un tifoso Pens:
There's 4 things that happens in this incident, all in a fraction of a second, that resulted in Sid leaving the game. I'll review each thing separately.
1) The Slash
The first notable thing is that Ovi makes contact with Sid. (I want to point out at this time that I'm a Pens fan who also happens to like Ovi, I'm not a hater). Ovi slashes Sid across the back as Sid's trying to drag on Holtby. I was actually surprised at how hard Ovi appears to hit Sid, given that the point of origin of the swing, is perpendicular to his body. Basically, his swing starts from a "bunting" position, except a little higher. In otherwords, he did NOT swing his stick like a baseball bat from behind his body.
The reason it looks to me like he slashed Sid pretty hard is because of the way Ovi's stick half-wraps around Sid. It's the kind of bend you see in his stick, when they show still-frames of him firing the puck from his spot on the PP, the moment he's connecting with the puck.
I don't know what Ovi's stick flex number is, nor am I intimately familiar with stick flex based on experiencing it by experimenting with a variety of flexes, for me to properly appreciate or understand how that factor's into what I'm seeing in my footage. If in fact Ovi does have a very whippy stick, then it would really go a long way in explaining what I'm seeing.
That said, I DO think it's a stick infraction if you go "by the book". HOWEVER, I also think it's probably a very common thing, and is nothing more than a typical hockey play... and I wouldn't jump up and down screaming "That's a penalty!", or necessarily expect a penalty to be called there.
Also, if that slash was all that happened on that play, and the ref put his arm up and called that a Slashing minor, I probably wouldn't have thought it weird, nor even a ticky-tacky call.
To summarize this part, I wouldn't have been surprised if a penalty was or wasn't called here, either way. Nor would I have been upset, if it hadn't gone my team's way (specifically, in favour of the Pens).
2) The Highstick
Another notable thing that happens is that Ovi's stick then makes contact with the back of Sid's head. I believe this is a direct result of the stick whipping backwards, as the stick regains it's original form after having been wrapped on Sid's back... and then Ovi's forward motion (gliding towards the net) with his hands holding the stick firmly in place on the slash.
In otherwords, I do NOT see Ovi swing his stick at Sid's head. He definitely did NOT swing his stick at Sid's head. Also, the stick made enough contact with Sid's head, that I can see it displace his helmet just slightly.
Going "by the book", you could call it a Highsticking penalty. I've seen guys get called for far less. I don't think this is one of those obvious calls, because of the number of things happening in that moment, and I can totally understand why it would not be called a penalty, even if a ref saw it.
In summary, it's a non-malicious, no-intent, quazi-follow-through tap to the back of Sid's head. Not that Sid needs to be injured by a high-stick to the back of the head, for it to warrant a penalty, but I actually think Sid wasn't affected by it at all, for whatever that's worth.
3) The Trip
I think this is the pivotal moment in the whole sequence. After the initial slash, but in fact, BEFORE the aforementioned highstick... Ovi's skate makes contact with the back of Sid's skate. This is what causes Sid to lose his balance and fall. Again, by definition, when one player takes another player out with his skate causing the other player to fall, it's a Tripping penalty. But, I would have a really hard time calling this a trip proper, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Ovechkin's in the tripod the whole time he's bearing down on Sid, and while he's slashing him. At no point does Ovi take a stride, nor does he make a kicking motion, and at no point does Ovi change the angle or direction of his skate in an attempt to adjust his foot to ensure contact with Sid's skate. Secondly, because Sid is trying to drag the puck on Holtby, he begins a counter-clockwise rotation of his legs, as he begins to take the classic "10 & 2" foot positions, as we've all seen him do that makes his edgework so good.
This counter-clockwise rotation has Sid's left skate moving backwards TOWARDS Ovi's right skate and is actually partly to blame for the contact between the two.
I would have to say that if Sid fell, the way he was possibly going to fall (before Niskanen factors in), it's extremely unlikely there's a Tripping call, and if anything it probably would have gone unnoticed. HOWEVER, I want to point out that if this isn't Sid, and it's any other player, that player would not have his right skate angled the same way (the one in the 2 o'clock position), and he would hit the deck on his back like a ton of bricks. And that, I think would have been called a Tripping minor.
We all know Sid is so strong on his skates, and it's Sid's right foot that prevents him from falling normally here. Obviously I'm not suggesting that Ovi should have been penalized just because "if it wasn't Sid someone else might have fallen". I'm only trying to highlight the mechanics at play here. It's not a Tripping penalty, no matter how egregious the trip attempt, if the player doesn't actually fall. Period.
So in summary, I don't see this getting a Tripping call, and it's definitley not malicious, nor a slewfoot.
4) The Crosscheck
As Sid begins to fall, he has enough strength and control with his one planted skate (right skate), that he's able to slow his descent, and maintain some balance. I actually think Sid was probably going to be able to avoid falling completely, based on what I've seen him do over the years. But we'll never know, because "Enter Niskanen".
As Sid is mid-fall/mid-recovery... Nisky's path intercepts Sid's path. Nisky had just finished trying to lift Guentzel's stick as he was passing it to Sid, and then Sid moved East-West across the top of the crease so quickly that I don't think Niskanen could have anticipated it. Nisky certainly did not move towards Sid, or try to make a play on Sid. Nisky was on his way to the post. Their paths crossed, and I don't see anything more to that aspect of his positioning than that.
I scrubbed the footage pretty hard ensuring to pay attention to the subtleties of his hands, eyes, hips and feet to see if I can determine what he was actually doing, and after exhaustive review, I'm almost certain Niskanen was "meeting" Sid.
There's two ways an Innocent Nisky could have met Sid on this collision. The first way would have Niksy pull his arms into his chest, and prepare for contact on his own upper arm or shoulder area. Like he was going to aborsb the contact, is the best way to describe it. The second way would be for him to put his arms out and create a gap between the contact and his own body so that he doesn't become the victim of a collision with Sid. The first way is a passive reaction (although it can be done aggressively), and the second way is an aggressive reaction.
Nisky has played Sid hard, in the first two games, that's no secret. I'm sure both fanbases can see that. I think with this collision, Nisky is maintaining that mindset, and continuing that role and responsibility, as he meets Sid in this collision. That is to say, he's going to prevent Sid from running into him, but he's going to play him solid while he does it. A better way to say it might be "Give no quarter".
With that said, a Guilty Nisky, I believe, could have very easily played this the way it looks like he played it (the aforementioned "second way"), with a slight difference of fully extending his arms during the crosscheck, driving his stick into and through Sid to ensure Sid paid the price.
I looked for it, over and over, with all the angles, and I'm not seeing a powerful or forceful full-extension crosscheck. That leads me to believe that Nisky was NOT trying to decapitate Sid, or cause injury or harm to him, beyond "playing him hard". And I want to be clear here, I do not think anybody should avoid playing any player hard, within the rules of the game of course. I'm also accutely aware of the differences between Regular Season Hockey and Playoff Hockey, and I don't think Niskanen's actions and reactions are outside of standard playoff hockey physicality. There's a super-fine line between playoff "physicality", and regular season "excessive". And I think this play really straddles that line, given the context of the situation.
Now, with that being what it is, he did raise his stick, hands separated, stick horizontal, and met Sid's head with his stick, in a crosschecking fashion. Niskanen in point of fact, initiated the contact. By letter of the law, it's a Crosschecking penalty. There's no other way to cut that cake. I should also say that, I think the fact that the crosscheck hit him in the head, combined with, the motion of raising his stick up and out, to initiate the contact (aka "meeting him"), is how it goes from a non-call to a for-real penalty. I think if this crosscheck doesn't hit Sid in the head, and it hits him in the bicep or shoulder, it's highly unlikely it's called a penalty, and would be viewed as a collision at the net.
In summary... at the end of the day, he cross-checked him and that's a penalty, 100%. On top of that, the cross-check was to the head, and it appeared to be an instant injury, and I fully believe that's why it's was a Major. I don't think there can exist a 2-Minute Minor version of that contact, unfortunately. Not based on the way I've seen this stuff called all these years. And that's why I think there was no middle-ground on the call. And it's also why I think it's the right call.
I'm sure people are griping about the Game Misconduct component of it, but probably only because they don't know the rules well enough to know that with a Major, is an automatic Game Misconduct.
And that's how this crosscheck goes from Zero to Sixty, in under a second.
I'm sure you guys have covered the topic of Supplemental Discipline already. Based on what I've posted above, I think this incident doesn't warrant a suspension.
I truly believe this was a rapid fire succession of a bunch of tiny borderline'ish-type things that culminated in something extremely unfortunate (or "horrifying" as a Pens fan).
I really hope, for those that managed to endure my whole lengthy analysis, that it helps bring some clarity to the situation. I wish I could provide video with each moment I've described above, or do a full video, breaking down every angle and nuance of every body part in the whole mess, but after spending 8hrs yesterday trying to get people to understand what they are looking at in a slow-mo zoomed-in vid of Ovechkin shooting Hainsey in the head... I seriously don't have the energy for it.
I'd also like to think that Caps fans are pulling for Sid to make it back for Game 4... because I know that historically when my Pens are settling into a playoff run, I've always wanted to see them face the best teams enroute to a Cup. That's because I think if you can beat the best teams while you win it all, it leaves NO Questions on the table and no room for whispers or asterisks to be tossed about.
Ultima modifica di BendItLikeBieksa
il 03/05/2017, 13:04, modificato 1 volta in totale.